If you are a trail runner or are considering becoming a trail runner, learn about 5 benefits of trail running. Every running surface has its advantages and drawbacks, which is why it is good to not limit yourself to only one surface. Here are 5 benefits of running on a trail. Note: If you aren't sure where to go for a trail run, search for a trail on the USATF Website at usatf.org. You can enter your zip code and search through a database of different runs close to your location.
- The Scenery. One benefit of trail running is that trails keep your run interesting. If you are sick of looking at buildings or cars driving by, consider running on a trail. With all of the trees and other greenery to look at, the time will seem to go by quicker.
- Trail running strengthens your legs. Have you ever trained on a bark path and then switched to pavement or a track? It is harder to run on a trail or bark surface because it is less responsive and absorbs more shock. This brings us to another benefit of trail running…
- Trail running is better for your joints. Because of the increased shock absorption of the trail surface, trail running is more forgiving on your body. Pavement and other hard surfaces do not provide any shock absorption. Even though pavement is readily accesible, you will benefit from changing your surface to a trail, at least once in a while.
- You can get in "the zone." When you are running through town, you can't just focus on your running. You must constantly be aware of cars, stoplights and other obstacles. If you are running on a trail, you have the benefit of letting your mind wander without having to worry if you are going to get hit by a car or run into a pole.
- Better air quality. If you are running next to cars or other sources of pollution, trail running will make it easier for you to breathe. The Environmental Protection Agency cautions that running on the roads alongside cars can expose you to carbon monoxide. Even if you don't have asthma or other breathing conditions, this pollution can still make it more difficult for you to breathe and cause dizziness or headache.
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